Latvia might be one of Europe’s smallest countries with just over two million inhabitants, but it still offers international students a great education. Latvia's government continues to invest in the education sector and is committed to attracting more students to the Baltic state.
Most international students coming to study a degree Latvia will opt for capital Riga, which is home to the country's top two ranking institutions.
How can you study a degree in Latvia?
Higher education in Latvia is split into two distinct sectors, broadly separated by research and vocational degrees:
Academic degrees– Focus on developing your research skills
Professional higher education– Vocational subjects preparing you for work
However, some professional subjects, such as teaching or law, can be taught as both an academic or professional higher education degree, depending on the job role you want to go into afterwards.
Despite its small size, there are seven universities where you can study a degree in Latvia, with several other institutions offering courses to international students.
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Tuition fees in Latvia depend on the subject you choose to study, with some subjects like medicine costing more than others but it is relatively less than other European Countries.
Immigration and visas
EU citizens are permitted to study a degree in Latvia without a visa, but will need to obtain a student residence permit within three months. Your university should apply for the permit for you on your behalf. You will need to demonstrate the following:
You are studying for more than three months
You have sufficient income or savings to support yourself during your studies
You are enrolled at an approved or accredited institution
You have comprehensive health insurance
Non-EU students will need to apply for either a short-term entry permit or a student residence permit depending on the length of their degree. A short-term entry permit will allow you to stay in Latvia for up to three months, after which you will need to obtain the student residence permit.
Accommodation and living costs
The two main types of housing on offer to international students are:
University accommodation– such as halls of residence
Private accommodation– House and flat rentals
Most of the universities in Latvia will provide dormitory accommodation for students, offering shared kitchens and study areas and private bedrooms. Going for this option is a good way to meet fellow students and settle into university life.
Rent per month:
One bedroom apartment (city centre) – 200 Ls (USD$385)
One bedroom apartment (outside city centre) – 150Ls
Three bedroom apartment (city centre) – 425 Ls (USD$820)
Three bedroom apartment (outside city centre) – 250 Ls (USD$480)
Latvia has a relatively low cost of living compared to other European countries, with around €400 enough to cover living costs each month.
How safe is Latvia?
Latvia is a safe country in which to be an international student and is known for being welcoming. The most likely crime is petty theft, particularly of bikes.
Students should always take care to protect their own personal safety in order to avoid becoming victims of crime. They can do this by:
Avoiding carrying around large amounts of money
Staying in groups, especially at night, and never walking alone
Not making valuables obvious
Always having a route home planned and never getting into unlicensed taxis
Being wary of strangers
Being careful of traffic